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Mario Rutten passed away

Mario RuttenBy Robert Pool           It is with sadness we wish to inform you of the death of our colleague, Mario Rutten, Professor of Comparative Sociology and Anthropology of Asia at the Department of Anthropology and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Amsterdam, Programme Group Moving Matters, People, Goods, Power & Ideas.

Mario was passionate about his work as a teacher, researcher and administrator, which he carried out with devotion. His passion and energy inspired and motivated both students and staff.  Mario was committed to his students and to the idea that it was important for first year students to be taught by experienced professors, and he put this into practice, providing the anthropology teaching at the University of Amsterdam with a strong foundation.

For many years Mario carried out research on rural entrepreneurs and labour relations in India (Gujarat), Indonesia (central Java), Malaysia (Kedah), and among Indian migrants in England. In recent years he coordinated the WOTRO research programme ‘Provincial Globalisation: The Impact of Reverse Transnational Flows in India’s Regional Towns’, which focuses on the consequences of transnational migration in provincial cities in India, in collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore. He participated in the research programme ‘Contingent Development in Regional India: Ethnographies of Neoliberal Globalisation in Gujarat and West Bengal’, in collaboration with the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. He was also co-chair of the Joint Academic Committee India-Netherlands (of the Indian Council for Social Science Research and NWO).

Mario’s style of research was notable for the long-term relationships that he developed with the people he studied, some of whom he considered good friends and even family.  In addition to the publication of articles and books, Mario also made a documentary film, ‘Living Like a Common Man’, about Indian youths in London, and he inspired the development of visual anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.Antropologische ontmoetingen

In his characteristically persistent and enthusiastic way he made a tremendous effort to realise the establishment of a new Anthropology Department, and as the first chair of that department he was committed to developing anthropology further and strengthening the relationships and collaboration between colleagues in the department.

With his passing away we have lost a much valued and admired colleague and a committed and inspiring researcher and teacher, whose intellectual and personal involvement in research, teaching, and the running of the department will be greatly missed.

Our thoughts are with Mario’s family.

Mario’s funeral will be a private family affair.

On Thursday 14 January at 16:00 there will be a memorial event at the University of Amsterdam. Further details will follow.

Links to recent publications:

In the last year Mario published the book ‘Antropologische Ontmoetingen’ and various articles:

Over de film ‘Living Like a Common Man’:

Robert Pool is chair of the Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam

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